Melissa’s story

Hi Melissa here,

Annette has asked me to share more of my story with you.

Growing up I was always an overweight kid, eating what I wanted and too much of it. I loved life but was also very shy and reserved, and would eat mostly when I was bored. Growing up I often got teased and called names and had a low self esteem, I didn’t participate much in sports at school as I was embarrassed and never really fit enough.

As a young teenager I did a few short term diets or tried to eat better but I quickly got bored and went back to my old habits. As I started getting older I began to realise more and more that it wasn’t just about looks but also about health. Diabetes and heart disease had already claimed a few of my family members, and particularly watching my mother struggle with chronic heart disease and weight issues I knew that I had to change my path.

Facing the reality of my year 12 graduation formal, not knowing whether I would find a dress to fit my 110 kilo body was the catalyst to my weightloss (see my photo here).  A friend gave me a beautiful dress, but when I tried it on it was still slightly too small. Mum said she could make it bigger so that it would fit.  But by this time I was sick of being unfit and not having as much fun as everyone else and sick of having things made bigger to fit me. I wanted to be able to live my life to real potential and not let weight and sicknesses stop me, it was time for change.

We already had Annette’s cookbooks so I started with the 28 day weight loss plan and started exercising. Annette inspired me because I knew that she had done it, so why couldn’t I.  I quickly learnt that eating right didn’t mean missing out. With Annette’s recipes,  good food tastes great.  I also realised I didn’t need a great mound of food, there was always another meal.

My mum supported me and I had a great friend who would catch up with me each week after school and we would do a workout together. I can’t remember how much I lost in those first weeks, but it was the start of winning the battle with my weight. It was a road not easily travelled, there were times when I felt like I failed and just went back to old habits. But I had two goals that year, first I was going on a mission trip, I wanted to be fitter so I could do the hard work that it involved and enjoy it. Secondly I wanted to fit into that dress and feel like a princess on my formal night.

By the end of 2008:

I had lost 10kg
Been on that mission trip, an amazing life changing time, and survived
Fitted into my formal dress AND best of all… mum had to take it in!

Over the next 3 years I continued to change my lifestyle. Overall I lost 55kg and have kept it off since 2010. I now realise there is more to life than a battle with food, my life is very different now. I love cooking and still love food, the difference is that I can now really enjoy it the ‘Annette Sym’ way. I also find exercise fun and it actually is a way for me to de-stress from a day. I usually hit the gym a few times a week. I can wear clothes that actually fit, play sport and have fun and not get so worn out. I am healthy and have reduced my risk of getting sick from diseases. I also know that God can use me to my fullest potential to help with youth, missions work and whatever else lies ahead.

No I’m not perfect. There are times I still struggle with temptation and there were times when I restricted my diet too much, but it is all part of my journey. I am a young adult who likes to have a pizza night with friends and eat chocolate and ice-cream, but it’s something that I have occasionally and don’t stuff myself when I do have it. There is no good or bad food, it’s all about moderation and common sense, and with this mindset I never have to miss out on anything.

I am still on this journey and learning as I go but I can now enjoy life. With having a positive outlook and new lease on life I am now able to encourage others which I love.